TUTORIAL #7: Downloading Videos From YouTube


I’ve done a ton of presentations over the years. Sometimes there’s a video on YouTube or some other streaming video site that would complement my presentation. (Like this one.) But many places that I present at don’t have Internet access readily available. So those videos go unplayed, and my presentation just doesn’t have the pizazz I was hoping for.

I have finally found a way to get those videos, in any format I want, thanks to a few tools. Now I can save those videos to my Zune/iPod/other device. Now I can embed those videos right inside my Powerpoint presentations. Here’s how I do it:

1) Find a video you want to download.

Just cpoy the URL of the page the video is shown on. I’m going to use this one as my example. It’s an interpretation of Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger.” The person in the video wrote the lyrics to the song (there’s only like 12 words, over and over) on their hands, and shows those words at the appropriate times. Highly entertaining, I promise.

2) Download that video.

Here’s the first tool we need to use. Open a new browser window and go to http://www.savevid.com. Near the top of the page is a textbox for you to paste your URL into. Do that, and then click the download button. After a few seconds (or minutes, depending on the length of your video), it will present you with a few links. One of those links is to “Download MP4.” Do this, and save the file to your hard drive.

3) That’s IT? No, there’s more.

That’s only half the task. MP4 files can be added to your media player of choice, but they’re not used many other places. What if my device doesn’t support MP4, or I want to embed this file in a presentation? There’s gotta be a simple way to convert this video to another format. And there is.

4) Get Expression Media Encoder 2.

This was the first time I had used Expression Encoder, but it is SUPER easy. Download it here. During the install, it will ask you if you want to install Quicktime too. YES. Yes you do. You need it to work with MP4 files. (Thanks Apple, for your wall.)

5) Import your new MP4 file.

Once you’ve got Expression Media Encoder installed, open it up, and from the File menu, choose Import. Choose your MP4 file from earlier, and open it up. By default, all of the settings are preset to create a high-res WMV file.

6) Export your new WMV file.

All you need to do now is go back up to the File menu and choose “Encode.” It will create a new WMV file for you that can be used in just about every application that uses video on Windows. (If you’re on a Mac, that MP4 file should be the one you use.) Voila! You’ve downloaded a movie from YouTube, and now you can do anything you want with it!

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4 thoughts on “TUTORIAL #7: Downloading Videos From YouTube

  1. Don’t forget about the latest version of RealPlayer. Makes it very simple to download streaming video (no extra steps) I, too, have wanted to download streaming video, and for years, it’s been elusive unless one was willing to pay a decent chunk for software that could capture streaming video. To my pleasant surprise, I was required to download RealPlayer for a school project when I noticed every time I would watch streaming video in *any* format, a little tab would pop up at the upper right hand corner and as “Download this video?”. Viola! Any and every streaming video source I came across that I wanted was on my local drive.

  2. Oh my word, Jeff, that’s a great set of tips! I’ve wanted to do exactly this on many occasions, and couldn’t work it out.

  3. Feel free to spread the word. Point people to my post!

  4. I went down this road a few months ago and never quite found a good way to do it. Thanks for a great solution.

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